Regardless of your level of position within a company, you will at one time or another be required to participate in a business meeting. In fact, the average employee in the UK or the US spends hundreds of hours in meetings each and every year, with many now suggesting they achieve very little. But how much are these meetings actually costing, both to individual businesses and the economy as a whole?
To find out, STL Training has put together a beautifully designed infographic charting the real cost of business meetings, revealing some very telling statistics in the process. According to their research, the average Fortune 500 company spends $527 on a single meeting, while a Fortune 500-2000 company spends $547. Overall, this adds up to a staggering $25,000,000 per day spent on potentially wasteful meetings.
That’s the financial side of things, but what about the lost productivity? Staff meetings will have an impact on the time, morale and productivity of an employee, and this too can have a cost implication. According to Atlassian, 50% of all meetings are considered wasteful or unproductive, and nearly half of all employees say that unproductive meetings are the biggest source of wasted time in the office. The same piece of research also found that:
- 73% of those attending a meeting do other work during the meeting
- 91% of attendees admit to daydreaming
- 96% say they have missed meetings
- 39% admit they have fallen asleep during a meeting
Considering the direct financial cost of each meeting, that’s a shocking amount of wasted time and energy – but are all businesses guilty of this?
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has implemented a unique approach to ensuring meetings are purposeful, telling employees not to plan a meeting in which two pizzas are not enough to feed everyone who is present. This ensures only those who need to be there are attending. He also has an ‘empty chair’ technique (whereby one chair remains empty during each meeting, which is meant to represent the customer) to make sure all attending keep their customer in mind at all times.
How do you use meetings in your own business? If you find you’re regularly calling or attending meetings, perhaps it’s time to consider an alternative approach.